Skip to main content

Full text of "A history of Persia"

See other formats

it represented before it should be firmly established.
Moreover, Selim was probably aware of the despatch of
Persian envoys to Egypt and to Hungary.
The temper of the Sultan is shown by the fact that he
despatched secret agents to ascertain the number of the
Shia heretics in the Ottoman dominions and massacred
forty thousand out of a total of seventy thousand.
Having in this manner cleared his own dominions of
possible sympathizers with the enemy, Selim wrote
various letters to the Shah couched in the usual bom-
bastic style, to which Ismail replied that he had given
no provocation, and did not desire war. He added that
the tone of the letters must have been due to indulgence
in opium, and he therefore sent the royal secretary a box
of the drug. As Selim was himself addicted to the vice,
a fact which was probably known in Persia, the sarcasm
went home.                               *. ' -
The Persian monarch, most of whose troops were
engaged in Central Asia, decided on a defensive campaign,
and after laying waste the tountry to the west, posted
himself at Chaldiran, in the vicinity -of Khoi on the
present north-west frontier of Persia. The Turkish force
suffered from both thirst and hunger, but it constituted
a regular army one hundred and twenty thousand strong,
consisting mainly of cavalry, but including several regi-
ments of musketeers and a contingent of powerful artillery.
The Ottoman tactics were to draw the Persian cavalry
within range of their artillery and muskets, and the guns
were therefore concealed behind the infantry. Shah
Ismail, aware of the Ottoman intention, separated his
own force, consisting entirely of cavalry and perhaps
sixty thousand strong, into two divisions, one of which
he led himself, while the other was placed under the
Chief of the Ustajlu. His plan was to attack the enemy
on both flanks simultaneously. The charge which he led
in person against the Turkish left wing was successful
and forced the Ottoman troops back on to the rear-guard.
But on the Turkish right the infantry, by retiring, un-
masked the artillery, which was used with deadly effect.
The Persian leader fell and his force broke and fled. The